BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A day-long celebration is underway for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's Joann Falletta. She is celebrating her 20th anniversary as the BPO’s conductor.
7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Falletta has generated great popularity and success for the BPO.
“It's just been the best 20 years of my life,” declared Falletta.
Joann Falletta's anniversary celebration began with the Coffee Concert series at Kleinhans Music Hall.
But before she picked up the baton to conduct, the mayor declared it JoAnn Falletta day in Buffalo.
Falletta says the celebration is overwhelming but was felling a lot of Buffalove.
“I feel surrounded by love and that's what Buffalo is - people who love this Orchestra come concerts come to our morning concerts and have donuts and coffee with us,” Falletta reflected.
And Falletta fans are everywhere.
"I come every year to the Friday morning classes and she always has an exciting agenda. She's the tops. We're lucky to have her,” said Kerin Dumprhey, Lockport resident.
“She loves us, we love her back. It’s a beautiful fit and great, great chemistry,” remarked Leslie Bahler, Buffalo resident.
Falletta brought star-power to the orchestra when she arrived 20-years ago to lead a then struggling BPO.
“We've come a long way. I’m very, very proud of this orchestra. They are absolutely superb,” Falletta said.
“What do you see over the next decade for the BPO?” Buckley asked.
“Well continued strengthening of our financial base, so these musicians can never have to worry about our orchestra not being there for them and the community as well, more recordings, maybe more touring, just growing artistically and growing as a family,” replied Falletta.
Falletta and the Orchestra are Grammy winners, but she credits the leadership, board and BPO members for its success.
“We have a very special karma in the Buffalo Philharmonic where the musicians support each other and work together and celebrate together,” Falletta noted.
Falletta received a special recorded video message from famed American music composer Danny Elfman, who is recording a new music score in London.
You would recognize his music from Burton film's like Edward Scissorhands & Batman and music he wrote for Spider-man.
Friday’s concert was titled Danny Elfman's violin concerto.
“I wanted to say hello to the Buffalo Philharmonic, to a wonderful conductor JoAnn Falletta,” stated Elfman. “I wish so badly I could be there with you.”
Along with the morning concert, a black tie event takes place Friday night to honor Falletta at Hotel Henry. It will cap-off a daylong ‘cultural celebration’.
Several of Buffalo’s cultural venues, such as the Darwin Martin House, Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo Zoo, Botanical Gardens and History Museum were featuring BPO music and special discounts Friday.
As Falletta remarked on her 20 years, 7 Eyewitness News also asked her about her most memorable moments.
“Our first return to Carnegie after so many years. Being in Poland with the Orchestra was amazing. Our first Florida tour. The recordings we’ve made. It’s just been an amazing journey together,” reflected Falleta.